Community contributers create beauty, wisdom for all

One General Learner Outcome that our children learn in school is that of being a “community contributor,” which includes learning that we must all work together. A stunning example of that can be experienced this Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at a dedication ceremony and lunch at Niumalu Beach Park.

Kat Ho from Hale Opio was responsible for organizing the creation of the beautiful mosaic and supplied me with the bulk of the information about this wonderful upcoming event. I am truly grateful for her commitment and work on this project.

Malama Huleia is a voluntary nonprofit organization dedicated to improving key parts of the Nawiliwili Bay Watershed by eliminating alien and highly invasive plant species. After three years of effort, volunteers successfully cleared the 2.5 acres at Pu‘ali Stream of mangrove and replanted native plants. Malama Hule‘ia envisions using this demonstration site as a place to honor and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture and community by developing an education and outreach program and enhancing Niumalu Park to be an informative beautiful place for gathering and learning.

The leadership of Malama Hule‘ia brought together community partnerships with Hale Opio Kauai Inc. and Kauai Rotary Club for this pavilion beautification project as a part of this larger vision.

Hale ‘Opio Kauai Inc., is an organization dedicated to nurturing the youth of Hawaii. Their Art and Cultural Program, “Ke Kahua O Ka Malamalama,” recently created their fourth public art mural to be installed at Niumalu Beach Park. Over 75 Kauai youth participated in helping to create a five-foot mosaic depicting the traditional Hawaiian moon calendar and how it relates to fishing and farming. This mosaic depicts the 30 Hawaiian moon cycles and how they were used as a guide for everyday life including fishing, farming, ceremony and celebration.

Through awareness of celestial observances of the sun, moon and stars, and their relation to life, Hawaiian practices were deeply interconnected spiritually and physically. Hawaiian people considered themselves part of the environment, not separate. They thrived in a sustainable lifestyle and wisely managed their resources.

The Kauai Rotary Club, uniting for the common good, restored the Niumalu Beach Park pavilion, to receiving these cultural and educational artworks. Many volunteers painted and repaired the Niumalu pavilion. It may be the oldest county park pavilion on the island. Simple and elegant in design, it is used consistently by the community for countless gatherings.

And there is more: Two historic photo murals were created with funding through a “Placemaking Micro-grant” from the Kauai Board of Realtors. It was created by Hale ‘Opio from images courtesy of the Kauai Historical Society and printed by Gizmo Grafix. They will be installed at Niumalu Pavilion as well. These images are from the early 1900s, before the breakwall, jetty and boat harbors were built, showing a landscape and lifestyle that contrast the current environment. A photo of the 1,000-year-old ‘Alekoko (Menehune) as a working fishpond, taken in 1912, is an impressive sight. Visions of restoring the fishpond and the Hule‘ia Stream are in the heart of many volunteers.

These efforts intend to elevate awareness, connection and pride in this important community park, and we are all invited to add our blessings at the dedication ceremony for this project. There will be local history, hula and food offered. For more information call Kat Ho from Hale Opio at (808) 635-4110 or Sarah Bowen from Malama Hule’ia at (808) 626-5210.

In Jerusalem there is another collaboration that may have worldwide significance. In an attempt to turn away from polarization and politics, a group of Jews, Muslims, and Christians will be setting up a joint house of worship. The prayer hall will be open to the public between Sept. 5-11. They are using the Alpert Youth Music Center, and for that week it will become “Amen.”

For years, a small group of religious leaders have been gathering and planning the event practiced long ago of community praying. The dates chosen are part of a festival known as “Mekudeshet” (Blessed) which is part of Jerusalem’s Season of Culture.

What is the power of collaborating with community contributors? We join our minds and visions together, building upon the ideas that others have until we are all satisfied that it is a project that can be accomplished, and will be (usually) for the betterment of ourselves and others. Our resources are greater. The visionary knows the difficulty of bringing a great idea into manifestation. It takes time, money, labor, various skills, communication and more, which can become fun if people are truly committed in their hearts to the project. Just the commitment of the head to the idea may not always keep one afloat in the sea of the world’s expression when you want to launch a new boat!

May we all have wonderful visions about the potential for our lives, and may we all connect with others who share enough of the goals to help bring it into manifestation.

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Hale ‘Opio Kaua‘i convened a support group of adults in our Kauai community to “step into the corner” for our teens, to answer questions and give support to youth and their families on a wide variety of issues. Please email your questions or concerns facing our youth and families today to Annaleah Atkinson at aatkinson@haleopio.org For more information about Hale ‘Opio Kauai, please go to www.haleopio.org

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